Yulia Kazakova 2018-01-08
Russian Traditions Of Doing Business

Doing business in Russia is not only about Business Relations but more about Friendship and Relations that are usually made over drinks. A drinking tradition is derived from doing business concepts based on the Eastern values. Business representatives believe alcohol to be a wind that shifts a sailing ship namely negotiations on a deal in a right direction. How a glass of wine makes a deal go smooth and productive?


The tradition is well represented in Russian literature. The concept of "wine" entered the Russian poetry of the 18th with a negative connotation, which has changed in the process of accepting the ancient heritage in the interpretation of this concept. Russian poetry was focused on ancient values, perceived through the medium of European literature of the 17th - 18th. The artistic concept of "wine" is one of the most important elements for understanding the language and aesthetic specifics of Russian secular poetry of the 18th.

A wide network of wine associations with mythological characters, as well as objects of material nature and abstract concepts, speaks of its importance for culture.


“Messire asked me to give you a present ... - a bottle of wine. Please note, this is the same wine that the procurator of Judea drank. Falern wine.”  - Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita


“Captain glorious! Mustache, brother, such! Bordeaux calls simply a bandage. "Bring it, brother, says the bandits!" Captain Kuvshinnikov ... Oh, brother, what an honourable man. We were all with him together. … If he pulls out a small bottle of wine from the back room, which he calls special, it's just that, brother, you are in a fairytale.” - Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls.

Poems also illustrate the role of wine in Russian tradition

The waiters are like at a sleep, not nice
Amid surroundings that’s grim.
At you some drunkards stare rabbit eyes.
‘In vino veritas’ they scream. - “The Stranger”, Alexander Blok

To dive in the Russian culture in the 21st century you might be interested in what type of wine do Russians find inspiration in.

Russia imports the greater part of its wine, despite of having its production.

The vast majority of Russia's territory doesn't have a suitable environment for wine growing. Most of the production is concentrated in parts of Krasnodar and Rostov regions

Price is determned by many criteria. For the most expensive bottle of wine, you are to pay 80 999 P. The bottle of wine was delivered with love and passion from Spain. Each grape was collected to fill a glass.


    The consumption of wine in Russia in different regions is defined not only by the price but also by cultural pecularities and the temp of life. 

     Yet hissing froth deals a malicious,

     perfidious blow to my inside,

     and now it's Bordeaux the Judicious

     that I prefer to Champagne's tide;

     to Aÿ's vintage in the sequel

     I find myself no longer equal;

     for, mistress-like, it's brilliant, vain,

     lively, capricious, and inane...

     But in misfortune or displeasure,

     Bordeaux, you're like a faithful friend,

     a true companion to the end,

     ready to share our quiet leisure

     with your good offices, and so

     long life to our dear friend, Bordeaux! – ‘Eugene Onegin’, Alexander Pushkin


As Mira Bergelson,  professor in the Faculty of Humanities at HSE and the author of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) launched by HSE called ‘Understanding Russians: Contexts of Intercultural Communication’,  notes, “The success of any business communication depends on accuracy and respect. One should choose words with sensitivity. Intercultural communication involves obstacles because of cultural differences, but you can overcome them with sensitivity. Accept differences and try to move on, and be understanding rather than frustrated.”. Learn the peculiarities of Russian culture and do business that will be shifted with a wind ‘Bardeaux’.